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Jorge Eduardo Eielson eros / ions
translated by David Shook

eros    /    ions
      /      ions
        /        ions


above lips eyes closed/
innumerable lament respiration/
of a caged animal between teeth/
firmament of soiled sheets/
with semen with clay with urine/


/thighs open below
/snap of pink members foam
/and hair temperature and saliva endless
/and grass trampled beside a lake
/of reddish flowers that ache


the four fingers inside open/
a lamp’s light falls/
the ear the hair the tongue/
tenderly beating licking/
and dying of happiness before the fruit/


/their feathers the asshole closes its door
/your face on my face your sex on my sex
/hot rose between my cold lips
/in the shadow the enormous apple
/I adore


cigarette sunday summer/
and if I don’t die it’s because/
my hand strokes your buttocks of stone/
knowing that for my wet lips/
the only nude round moon/
is you


/over the sand they mix
/while I kiss you defenseless
/and my hand strokes your buttocks of stone
/in the mirror your eyes reflect
/the distant moon


the pink creature at the gray edge/
that bursts over you between the spurs/
of cow-boys of furious shootouts/
beneath the sheet swollen/
your savage hips slip beneath/
my desolate heart


/orgasm of the buttonless pants
/in the first row of shadows
/between my wet hands
/by your nudity breathing
/before decisively penetrating

Jorge Eduardo Eielson (1924 - 2006) was born in Lima, Peru. As a high school student he was taught by renowned novelist, poet, and anthropologist José María Arguedas, who influenced his interest in the Pre-Columbian precedents of conceptual art. In 1945, at age 21, Eielson won Peru’s National Poetry Prize, before moving to Italy, where he met his life partner Michele Mulas, in 1951. In addition to his 20-plus books as a poet, essayist, and novelist, Eielson was a highly lauded painter and sculptor. In the late 1950s, he began to texturize his works on canvas with organic materials such as earth, sand, and clay. This eventually led to his depiction of human forms using textiles, and in 1963 he began work on what would become his first quipu, reinventing this ancient Andean form with fabrics in brilliant colors, knotted and tied on canvas. In the late '70s, he moved to Milan, where he would spend the rest of his life writing, studying Zen, and producing his art, which was exhibited around the world.
David Shook's translation of Eielson's Room in Rome (Cardboard House Press) was a finalist for both the 2020 National Translation Award and the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and made World Literature Today's list of most important translations of 2019. Other forthcoming translations include Mario Bellatin's Beauty Salon and Farhad Pirbal's Refugee 33,333 (with Pshtewan Kamal Babakir). In addition to their work as a translator, they serve as editor of Phoneme, an imprint of Deep Vellum focused on poetry in translation, and write poetry and essays.
Originally published in 1958.
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